20061024

Chirac's City Hall collection tops $1 million


The much-anticipated auction of a wine collection created for Paris's City Hall when Jacques Chirac was mayor has brought in $1.2 million, 75 percent higher than pre-event estimates. (Click here for a video report on the event.)

The catalyst was a bidding war that developed between British and Chinese merchants. Stephen Williams, managing director of London's Antique Wine Co., spent 10,000 euros (US$12,561.83) for the most expensive labels in the catalog, two bottles of 1986 Romanee Conti with a value estimated before the sale of 1,500 euros (US$1,884).

Chirac, who went on to become president of France, had acquired nearly 5,000 bottles of such rare labels as Petrus and Margaux. Bertrand Delanoe, the current Socialist mayor, ordered the dispersal of the collection through the Oct. 20-21 auction.

"This was about fetishism,'' Claude Maratier told the Bloomberg News Service. "The two wine merchants saw great potential in buying Paris city wines, in buying Chirac's wines. It is a teaser for their clients.''

Maratier is the independent expert on the sale organized by Paris auction house SVV Giafferi, which reported final figures today.

Bidders ranged from an unidentified West African billionaire represented by his trader to an anonymous wine merchant calling in bids from Monaco. Proceeds from the auction will go to the city treasury for general use.

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2 comments:

Bri Held said...

Dear Mr. Dowd,

It's puzzling as to why your column dated 10.24.2006 refers to Jacques Chirac as "the late Jacques Chirac" when he is very much alive. Did I miss something somehow?

William M. Dowd said...

Dear Bri:

The only thing that was missed was my own copy editing. I have fixed the error and am in the process of writing 100 times, "I will not confuse Mitterand with Chirac ... I will not confuses Mitterand with Chirac ... "